How to spend a weekend in the Amalfi
Turquoise water, pastel buildings and beautiful beaches?! Yes please! The Amalfi coast has recently became one of the most Instagram famous destinations, and while the selfish side of me is at times envious, I really can’t be mad at the photos of Italian cliffs filling my feed.
I went on an extended weekend trip through Bus2Alps, a travel agency for students, during my time abroad. They bused us from Florence to the coast, where we spent a 3 days in Positano, Capri and Naples. Sadly 3 days just wasn’t enough to see everything, but what I have combined all my thoughts from my short trip along with research on the area to bring you a guide to the Amalfi Coast.
What is the Amalfi?
Technically speaking, the Amalfi Coast stretches along the western side of Italy, from Positano to Vietri sul Mare. There are several towns along these cliffs boasting beaches that are perfect for some R&R during the day and authentic Italian restaurants for some fine dining at night. Of course, the luxurious feel of this area does come with a cost. Some of the hotels and accommodations are way beyond my current budget, but don’t let that scare you. If you are on a tight budget, I suggest staying off the coast at night. We called Sorrento our home-base for the weekend, driving to the coastal cities during the day and returning for dinner at night.
P.S. One of the towns on the coast is called Amalfi, which is different than the Amalfi Coast which is the region.
How to travel around the Amalfi Coast
As I mentioned, I was with a tour group which meant transportation was taken care of. But, if you aren’t going with a tour group, you are definitely going to want to rent a car and drive from Rome/Florence (or wherever you fly into) which is roughly 6 hours or so.
What to do in Positano
Get on the water
We opted to rent a paddle boat out of Spiaggia Grande where we could get a view of the city from afar. Even though it was a cold spring day, you best believe that after about 10 minutes of paddling, I was overboard swimming in the turquoise water. It was so clear and blue, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Speaking of water, you need to check out the beaches
Spiaggia Grande is by far the most touristy spot for people to visit, so if you feel like getting away from the herd, try Fornillo Beach, which is only a short walk away from the main area.
Another beach, Fiordo di Furore, is one of the most photogenic spots of the entire city. The beautiful cliffs and tucked away cove is breathtaking.
Enjoy the view from Hotel Poseidon. If you can’t spend your nights at the hotel, you for sure have to stop by their restaurant Il Tridente for some of the best views of the city. Green vines, colorful flowers and quaint outdoor seating overlooking the water?! Sign me up!
You should also note that the hotel has a pool that non-guests can pay to use, which is a great option for you water lovers!
If you are looking for a fun night out, Music on the Rocks is a well-known club that is located inside a cave. Sounds bizarre, but I hear it’s pretty incredible.
For the inner adventurer, the Path of Gods is a hiking trail with unparalleled views of the city.
Rent a scooter
Lots of people prefer to get around this bustling area by scooter, zooming along the curving roads from town to town. I didn’t have the chance to but it seems like one of the most iconic things you could do.
Good Eats in Positano
The area surrounding Spiaggia Grande is most popular, so take time to adventure away towards Fornillo. There are far fewer people and some great restaurants to try. I’ve heard that both Saraceno d’Oro and Da Vincenzo Positano have bomb pizza.
I have to admit, since we only had a day, I didn’t get to indulge in too many delicious meals (pretty sure we ate a convenient store panini) but I do have a friend, Heather who has some of the best places to eat in Positano for you to check out!
A guide to Capri
The following day we took a ferry to Capri, an island just off the coast. This is a multi-level city, starting with Marina Grande at the water, then Capri higher up the hillside, followed by Anacapri at the top. The best ways to get up the mountain are to either take a bus takes directly to the top or a cable car from Marina Grande to Capri, then Capri to Anacapri. The cable cars which take longer but are kind of a fun experience.
Getting to Capri
Since it is an island off the coast, you will have to take a ferry, which is roughly an hour ride from Amalfi. Generally, the first ferry starts at 8:30 AM and the last one leaves around 5:30 or 7 pm. If you are wanting to make the most of your day, I suggest booking the ferry ticket online ahead of time because it can fill up quickly during peak season, especially for the early rides.
What to do in Capri
Blue Grotto: We started our day in Capri with a private boat tour around the island, ending with a ride into the Blue Grotto, a cave that you can enter by way of tiny 4 person boat (if you can even call it that-ha!). Touring the Blue Grotto is very weather dependent as the entrance is extremely small and can be obstructed by strong current. Although I really enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say this is something you have to do if you’ve seen similar things before. The tours are only a few minutes long, just long enough for you to snap a picture before heading out so you really aren’t doing it to relax inside the cave. Of course, it is beautiful, but don’t let it ruin your time if you can’t make it.
Chairlift to Mt. Solara: We took the chairlift to Mt. Solara, the highest point of the city where you can soak in 360 degree views of Capri. It’s roughly 10 euro, but I would say this is a must! You escape the tourists and get to stay at the lookout as long as you want, which means lots of time to get the best shots of the city.
Phoenician Steps: Now that you are on top of Anacapri, there’s a couple ways to come down. Okay, you can take a car down the mountainside for a quick and scenic view, but if you are feeling more adventurous, I say take the Phoenician Steps. It was actually more difficult than the guides let on, especially for a girl in sandals, but I was able to do it and you can too! It’s roughly 1,000 steps, but the breathtaking views take away the thigh pain with each step.
Villa San Michele is another one of the best places for a beautiful view of the city. The fresh flowers and lush gardens are beyond picturesque, and only 7 Euro to visit, making it a must see.
If you are into history, venture over to Via G. Orlandi, where you can walk into San Michele, a beautiful church with hand painted tile-ceramics of Adam and Eve. It is roughly 2 Euros to enter
Good Eats in Capri
I would recommend the cable cars so that you can stop in Capri for some orange granita, a slushy alcoholic drink that is equal parts refreshing and delicious, a must-try for all visitors. You will find these sold on the streets by locals in shacks.
Just in general, try the panino caprese, a local favorite sandwich with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Yum.
Some of the best pizza on the island is Aumm Aumm or Verginiello, but if you are looking to try torta caprese, another staple, the mouthwatering chocolate and almond-filled cake, head to Pasticceria Ferraro.